This resource provides some facts and figures about Academic Appeals (Awards and Progression), and cases of Academic Misconduct and Non-Academic Misconduct and Misconduct Appeals, considered by the university.

The university's Academic Council annually receives a report summarising the number of Academic Appeals (Awards and Progression), and cases of Academic Misconduct and Non-Academic Misconduct and Misconduct Appeals raised during the session, as required by the university's Academic Regulation A3: Student Conduct and Appeals:

From this page you can also access anonymised examples which give brief descriptions and rationales for the decisions made by the university in these cases.

 


Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

To view reports on recent cases investigated by the SPSO, go to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website, and search for "Robert Gordon University".


 

Anonymised Example Summaries


Anonymised
Example


Grounds for Appeal
6.2(i) 


Grounds for Appeal
6.2(ii)


Dismissed
by
Principal


Returned to Assessment Board


 Dismissed by SAC


 Upheld  by SAC


Out of Time


Example 1


X

 


X

 

 


 


Example 2


X




X










Example 3


X






X








Example 4


X




X










Example 5




X








X




Example 6




X




X








Example 7




X


X









Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 1

Anonymised Example 1 - Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (i), dismissed by the Principal

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board which considered an appeal against a failure in re-assessment for one module.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

Student A stated that the basis for his appeal was that he had been suffering from a medical condition that had affected his concentration whilst preparing his submission. He had not sought any medical assistance until after the submission date, however, he had submitted as evidence a letter confirming he attended the local hospital’s Outpatient Department, approximately one month after the submission date; the letter was not specific about the nature of the illness and did not include a clear diagnosis (a requirement which was made clear in the Guidance Notes accompanying the Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form, which had previously been submitted by Student A).

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

Following consideration of the appeal, it was concluded that the Assessment Board had given due consideration to all of the circumstances in reaching its decision and, in order to ensure equity of treatment with other students, the Board had correctly rejected the evidence submitted by Student A as insufficient.

It was concluded that no prima facie case for appeal existed and the appeal was formally dismissed.

Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 2

Anonymised Example 2 - Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (i), dismissed by the Principal

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board, which considered his appeal against a failure in re-assessment for three modules.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

Student A stated that the basis for his appeal was two-fold. He had been suffering from a medical condition prior to and during the semester 2 assessment period; and a close relative, who had brought him up and was his sponsor, had died immediately before the assessment period following a period of ill health.

Student A’s medical circumstances were taken into account at the semester 2 (June) Assessment Board. However, Student A did not advise the School of his relative’s death until his subsequent failures at the August re-sit diet when he spoke with his Course Leader and submitted a Student Appeal Form: Academic Appeal. Student A stated that he did not advise the School earlier because he had no documentary evidence to submit and he was waiting for it to arrive.

Whilst it was acknowledged there could sometimes be delays in obtaining copies of legal documentation, such as death certificates, particularly at such a difficult time for the family, Student A should have advised the School of the circumstances so they might have been considered at the appropriate Assessment Board i.e. June.

Though the death of his relative was significant, this was relevant to the May diet; in addition, Student A was citing the same medical circumstances to appeal results for the August diet that he used for the May diet without submitting any new evidence to suggest his medical condition continued to affect his performance in August, or that he was receiving any treatment at that time. This was contrary to the Guiding Principles - Extenuating Circumstances.

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

Following consideration of the appeal, it was concluded that the Assessment Board had given due consideration to all of the circumstances in reaching its decision and that its decision was reasonable in the circumstances.

It was concluded that no prima facie case for appeal existed and the appeal was formally dismissed.

Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 3

Anonymised Example 3 - Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (i), Returned to Assessment Board

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board, which considered her appeal against a failure in her dissertation.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

Student A stated that the basis for her appeal was that a medical condition had affected her studies.

The appeal was originally rejected by the Assessment Board as the extenuating circumstances had already been taken into account when Student A had received a two week extension to the submission deadline.

However, it was evident from the helpful detail provided in a GP’s letter that Student A had been ill for a period longer than two weeks. Although the GP indicated that “symptoms are improving”, it could not have been assumed the student had fully recovered. It was believed that this was likely to have significantly interrupted her studies at a critical time, thereby reducing the time available to develop and complete her dissertation.

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

Following consideration of the appeal, it was concluded that, on the basis of the detail provided by the GP, there was a prima facie case for appeal and the case was referred back to the relevant Assessment Board for re-consideration.

Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 4

Anonymised Example 4- Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (i), dismissed by the Principal

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board, which considered his appeal against a failure in re-assessment for one module as a result of non-submission by an agreed deadline.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

The basis for his appeal was that whilst trying to complete his project module he received news that one of his parents was ill with a virus which subsequently led to hospitalisation. Student A claimed that this affected his ability to concentrate and complete the project by the agreed deadline. This deadline already included a three week extension granted by the School in recognition of problems Student A had experienced in earlier stages of his project.

Student A submitted a further Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form: this was rejected as the circumstances regarding his parent’s ill heath were not deemed sufficient grounds. When Student A subsequently appealed, no additional evidence was submitted with the Student Appeal Form: Academic Appeal, hence the appeal was also rejected on the same basis.

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

Whilst sympathetic to Student A’s circumstances, the conclusion was that the Assessment Board’s decision was consistent with previous cases, and that it was correct when saying his parent’s ill health would not be deemed as sufficient mitigation, as defined in the Extenuating Circumstances Claim Form:

“Extenuating Circumstances are exceptional, serious, acute and unforeseen problems or events which genuinely affect your performance in your assessments or your ability to complete coursework on time, and which were outwith your control. In the normal course of life you may occasionally experience minor illness, unexpected or adverse events which coincide with the preparation of coursework assignments or examinations. It is essential to recognise that these are part of normal life experience and that it is expected that some difficult circumstances have to be managed in addition to your studies. Such circumstances do not in themselves excuse failure or a poor performance. You are expected to manage and organise your learning, coursework assignments and revision in a way which anticipates that events will not always run smoothly.”

It was believed that the Assessment Board had given due consideration to all of the circumstances in reaching its decision and that its decision was reasonable in the circumstances.

It was therefore concluded that no prima facie case for appeal existed and the appeal was formally dismissed.

Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 5

Anonymised Example 5 - Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (ii), Upheld by SAC

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board, which rejected her appeal against a failure in re-assessment of one [project] module.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

Student A’s grounds for appeal were that:

  • Her project supervisor did not advise her she was making unsatisfactory progress during her first and second attempts at the MSc project
  • The independent double marking procedure was not followed, particularly as the second marker for her second attempt was not a specialist in the relevant field
  • All of the above were contrary to the requirements stipulated in the MSc Project Handbook.

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

On initial consideration, it was determined that there was a prima facie case worthy of further consideration by the Student Appeals Committee.

Following careful consideration of the documentation and oral evidence, the Student Appeals Committee agreed to uphold the appeal.

Student A was granted one further final re-assessment opportunity for the module (to be regarded as the second and final opportunity, the previous attempt to be deemed null and void).

In reaching this decision, the Committee took particular account of the following points:

i.   The Committee was satisfied the School had followed the Double Marking Policy, both in terms of the procedure for appointing a third marker to resolve disputed grades, and in respect of the knowledge, expertise and standing of all the markers involved.

ii.  The Committee noted Student A had provided evidence that she had made considerable efforts to obtain feedback on her failed first submission by contacting several members of administrative and academic staff, including her Course Leader, her Project Supervisor, and her Personal Tutor.

iii. The Committee was unable to determine with any certainty whether Student A had received appropriate feedback on the reasons for her failure at the first attempt at the project.

iv. That, in light of the comments and grades awarded by the second and third markers, and the extent of the discrepancy with the grade awarded by his Project Supervisor, the Committee was unable to determine with any certainty whether Student A had received appropriate feedback on her amendments whilst she was working on her second attempt at the project.

Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 6

Anonymised Example 6 - Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (ii), Upheld by SAC

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board, which considered his appeal against a failure in re-assessment for one module.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

Student A stated that the basis for his appeal was that he had been assigned to the wrong module in Moodle, which represented a material administrative error. Student A also had verifiable personal circumstances in the form of a medical certificate. These constituted new evidence that was not available to the Assessment Board which had met to consider Student A’s appeal.

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

Following consideration of the appeal, it was concluded that there was a prima facie case for appeal and the case was referred back to the relevant Assessment Board for re-consideration.

Academic Appeals - Anonymised Example 7

Anonymised Example 7 - Grounds for Appeal - 6.2 (ii), Dismissed by Principal

Overview

The appellant (Student A) appealed against a decision of a Re-Convened Assessment Board, which considered her appeal against a failure in re-assessment for one module.

Specific Reason(s) for Appeal

Student A believed her project supervisor had failed to provide her with adequate feedback with regard to her progress on the dissertation module, which she had subsequently failed. Student A claimed that the project supervisor had indicated her work had shown improvement following an initial fail, yet she had achieved the same mark for the last two submissions. She also raised concerns about feedback received from the markers.

Outcome (including key factors in upholding or dismissing the appeal)

In reviewing the documentation supplied by Student A, it was evident that feedback from the project supervisor on draft chapters did suggest there had been some improvement, but this was qualified by the provision of extensive comments to further improve the submission. Nothing in this documentation suggested that there had been any irregularity in the assessment process, or in Student A’s supervision.

Therefore, it was concluded that the Assessment Board had given due consideration to all of the circumstances in reaching the decision to reject Student A’s appeal on the basis that she was questioning academic judgement, and that its decision was reasonable in the circumstances.